Microsoft

Create EXE Video Files using RAD Video Tools

RAD Video Tools can deliver professional stand-alone videos as Windows executable files. Matt Nawrocki shows you how.

When I am looking to create a video presentation or a tutorial video that I want to share with others, a video file would typically suffice. However, this path might not be the best option, particularly if I want to pair the aforementioned video with interactive content and I want a self-contained playback window without the ability for any user-intervention. Also, depending on the codec you use, there is no guarantee that the video will play back on another PC without extra software, like VLC or a codec pack.

RAD Video Tools

Today, we are going to look at a product called RAD Video Tools, which can take any standard video file and convert it to a Windows executable. Clearly, the advantage to using this tool is the fact that you don't need to provide special codecs or additional software, as they are self-contained programs which include both the player and movie combined into one. This can be quite useful for distribution on physical media and the web.

First, download and install the freeware RAD Video Tools package for Windows.

Start RAD Video Tools and point the application to the directory containing the video for executable generation. At this phase, we will need to convert the source video to a .bik, Bink format as an intermediary step before finally outputting to an EXE file. Click the "Bink it!" button located on the bottom-left hand corner of the window to begin.

From here, you will determine your compression levels for both the video and audio streams contained within the source video. For all intents and purposes, the defaults are perfectly fine unless you have a special scenario, such as limited disk space. Click the "Bink" button to commence the render process.

At this stage, the Bink encode process can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour, depending upon the length and resolution of your video. Once finished, close the dialog box.

Select the newly created Bink output of your video file and click the "Advanced play" button at the bottom of the window.

Now this is the fun part. This is where you get to customize every aspect of what will become your self-contained movie player executable. Select the options that you desire and then click the "Play" button to test your settings. If you are satisfied, click the "Make EXE" button to proceed.

Specify your output filename here as well as the target platform. Unless you have a specific reason to change, I recommend keeping the compile option on Win 32. Click the "Compile" button to generate your executable.

That's it! Simply fire up your newly-minted EXE movie file! You can share this with anyone and it will play right away without the need to install any software.

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An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

11 comments
JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...before video codecs were standardized and widely available and we were not yet as paranoid as we are now regarding executables. Today, this is simply insane. Computers that cannot display an AVI or MPEG-2 or 4 file are now few and far between. At the same time, users who knowingly download and run an EXE are inviting disaster. Meanwhile, no administrator in his right mind would allow this on their network, unless they're looking for more work to do.

Gayle Edwards
Gayle Edwards

This is absolute non-sense... No... this is beyond nonsense. It is irresponsible, and dangerous. I would even consider this to be rank exploitation. Nor, does this idea offer any advantage what-so-ever. Distributing an ".EXE" as a way to distribute video-content? First, it locks users into "Windows" (for absolutely no reason). And, don't repeat the non-sense that users of 'other' platforms can simply download, yet another, piece of software, simply, to view a MOVIE-FILE (stored in a "Windows" .exe) . That completely obliterates the inane excuse for this product in the first place. Why not simply use -any- of the utterly common, and ubiquitous, file-formats that absolutely every platform can display? And, second... an ".EXE"! There is no such thing as a "safe source" (any external system may be compromised and serve-up malware). And, if anybody is still stupid enough to run an ".exe" from an external source... on a "Windows" computer... they need a keeper (for their-own, and EVERYBODY else's, safety). This Idea... product... and article... should be burned at the stake for its sheer idiocy! (And, after decades in the computer-industry, I do not think I am reacting too strongly. Frankly, I am proud of myself... simply... for having avoided the use of PROFANITY while trying to discuss something so asinine).

Gisabun
Gisabun

Is this really necessary? Unless you are sending a video that is non-standard, just about any computer can play the most common video formats [and even then, get something like Media Player Classic and you can play just about every format. As said before, downloading an EXE directly off the Internet is a no-no. Most companies will block downloading of any EXE as is [wrapping in a ZIP file could be the same]. Most ISPs will also block EXEs an attachments. Even if saved as a ZIP file, malware writers are wrapping their malware code around EXEs as well. With the original untouched format, no chance of malware. Finally, like any other application, playing around and/or compressing a video usually results in the degredation of the video.

kmthom
kmthom

"This can be quite useful for distribution on physical media and the web." Download a "video" with a .exe extension? All best practices of safe web surfing tell us, NO! I must admit, its a pretty cool concept to package a video file into an executable; and in some specific instances it would be very handy. However, I don't see too many tech-savvy web-surfers to download that .exe file once they mouse-over that link and see what they are getting into.

richardhx
richardhx

When prepping for a presentation, I usually suggest that users have the video in a format that can be played back- On anything. I can open most powerpoint files to some degree on OSX or linux, but would not be able to get a stuck presenter with an executable video out of a pickle if the only other presenting hardware was a linux, mac or ipad. Explaining to a presenter that it will not play on an ipad/mac/linux run item could be a bit embarrassing. Otherwise in a completely windows environment, it's benefits could well prove useful but with the caveat that you can not "Just share with everyone".

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you use self-contained video apps in your organization? Can you see the potential benefits when applied to certain situations?

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

There are defined niches where a tool like this would actually be useful. For example, say you want to set up a kiosk demonstrating a product to the public. You could create this EXE player that would have everything "locked-down" as it were without giving direct control of the video over to whomever is playing it. Perhaps my tip did not suit your particular needs or interests, but I'm sure it was helpful for others to know about this product anyway. In fact, I seriously doubt RAD Corporation would have gotten to where they are now if it wasn't for unique tools like this. I can't please everyone of course. :)

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Use a competent anti-virus package. I download EXE files from trusted sources all the time and seem to have no issues. Of course, you can also just have an alternate AVI or MP4 download link available for the extra cautious among us.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

You can actually take the EXE file and play it back using the Bink Player for Mac OS X and Linux. So yes, you can share this with everyone, though with the caveat that you obviously can't run the EXE by itself in non-Windows environments. Thanks for your comment.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

I have clients send me files from [i]un-trusted sources[/i] all the time that sail right on through those same "competent anti-virus packages". Allowing users to get comfortable with downloading and running EXE files is inviting disaster. If you actually enjoy cleaning up after malware and its collateral damage, this is a sure way have lots of fun.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Though to be perfectly honest Windows leaks so badly that you don't need to encourage End Users into Bad Habits most will pickup lots of infections without trying. Personally I find it boring cleaning up so many systems from what should never have got through to begin with if only the End User had of followed the slightest bit of Common Sense. I do however completely agree encouraging most End Users to download and run .EXE files isn't a great idea particularly if they are Home Users as when their systems get so badly infected that they no longer boot they'll throw them away as rubbish as it costs them way too much to clean them up. ;) Col

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